Ever since winning the seventh season of the Amazing Race Canada, Dr. James Makokis and Anthony Johnson instantly became role models for many young Canadians, especially to Indigenous and queer youth. During their time on the show, the two-spirit couple from Alberta raised awareness of Indigenous issues using their outfits. They wore their handmade red skirts and a bandana for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and blue shirts with the words “Water Is Life” to show the cultural and ceremonial importance of water. Off-screen, they continue to work towards improving the living conditions of Indigenous peoples in Alberta. While Anthony works as a project consultant at Kehewin Health Services, James fills a gap in the healthcare system through his medical practice specializing in transgender health.
James recently sat down with Marilyn to discuss the importance of continuing the conversation about understanding and checking in on the mental health of Indigenous communities, why he's an advocate for getting Indigenous people—specifically youth— vaccinated, and what Canada needs to continue to do to restore the system. Watch their conversation in the video clip above.
You can listen to James on From Where We Stand: Conversations on Race on iHeart Radio, and see below for some important resources about understanding Indigenous healing and how colonial violence and racism affects mental health and safety.
LEARN MORE: Indigenous Healing: Exploring Traditional Paths; $21.61 at Indigo | Storying Violence: Unravelling Colonial Narratives in the Stanley Trial; $15 at Indigo
When it comes to mental health, every action counts! Join the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day, January 26, and help create positive change for those living with mental health issues. For every text message, mobile or long-distance call made by Bell, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers, Bell will donate five cents to Canadian mental health initiatives. The same goes for every tweet or TikTok video with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, watching the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok or Snapchat, or using the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. But that’s just the first step: Visit letstalk.bell.ca for more ways you can effect change and build awareness around mental health.